Intentionally sow seeds of faith, hope, and love
It is fitting that as Ordinary Time begins along with summer, we hear Jesus’ parables of seeds. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is like seeds scattered on the land that grow up seemingly on their own. He proclaims that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, a very small seed, that grows into a large tree. Throughout his ministry, Jesus planted seeds of faith through his teachings and healings. He started small – 12 apostles, 70 disciples, crowds of 4000 and 5000. After his death and resurrection, those seeds grew and grew to become the largest crop of faith in the world, Christianity.
Through his parables, Jesus invites us to sow the seeds of faith in our families and communities. As we begin summer and Ordinary Time, it is good for us to do an examination of conscience to consider what kinds of seeds we are sowing. Are we sowing seeds of joy or discontent? Peace or conflict? Encouragement or discouragement? Hope or despair?
Here are some suggestions for intentionally sowing seeds of faith, hope, and love:
As you wake up in the morning, offer your day to God and invite the Holy Spirit to guide your words and actions.
Practice an attitude of gratitude. For every negative thought you may have, call to mind three things for which you are grateful.
When you feel yourself becoming frustrated, anxious, or agitated, take three deep breaths and pray, “Holy Spirit, calm my heart. Holy Spirit, quiet my mind. Holy Spirit, fill me with peace.”
Practice forgiveness. If someone says or does something that upsets you, forgive them – you may have to walk away for a few moments first, and invite God to help you forgive them. When you realize that you’ve hurt someone else – even unintentionally – ask them for forgiveness.
Practice an attitude of mercy. When you interact with someone, ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you with consideration of why that person is saying or doing whatever they might be saying or doing.
Be silent and listen, especially when you might disagree with others. When we are quiet and listen, we might hear something that we’ve never considered before. Silent listening can also diffuse a tense conversation.
I have been doing these practices for a while, and I have found that my attitude is much more positive, I am more peaceful, and I am more tolerant of other people’s words and actions. I think the key is, however, intentionally inviting the Holy Spirit to move in and through me. On my own, I tend to be reactive and impatient, but through the power and love of the Holy Spirit, I am able to be more conscientious of the perspectives and needs of others.
As we return to more interactions with others this summer, may we intentionally invoke the Holy Spirit to help us sow joy, peace, encouragement, and hope.